Princeton University

School of Engineering & Applied Science

Dealing with Variability and Uncertainty on the Road to 80 percent Renewables

Speaker: 
Professor William B. Powell, Professor of Operations Research and Financial Engineering, Director, Program in Engineering and Management Systems
Location: 
Friend Center, 109
Date/Time: 
Monday, April 14, 2014 - 7:30pm

The Obama administration has set a goal of generating 80 percent of our electricity from renewables, and providing the infrastructure to support one million electric vehicles. This is a daunting challenge for areas such as the mid-Atlantic region of the United States, which has limited access to hydroelectric power and biomass, leaving wind and solar as the primary sources of renewables. In this talk, I will review the issues of variability and uncertainty that arise with wind and solar, highlighting the hopes and realities of using wind and solar to power our grid. I will then describe SMART-ISO, a stochastic, multiscale model of the PJM energy markets and power grid, which has been designed to carefully model the sequencing of decisions and information that arises in energy markets. SMART-ISO has been used to calibrate a robust policy based on a hybrid lookahead model with cost function approximation to handle the variability and uncertainty of energy from wind and solar. We demonstrate the model in a study of off-shore wind.
An issue that comes up in the study of renewables is how to properly analyze them. I will give a light introduction to the proper approach to modeling a stochastic, dynamic system, using as a motivating example the problem of studying the grid with high penetrations of wind and solar.